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NEWS:If police want our respect, they must return to the streets


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#1 kenworthy

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:42 PM

The best way for the Met to recover from recent bad publicity is for its officers to reconnect with LondonersWho would be a London policeman? We are cutting 25 per cent of their budget, reducing their numbers and cutting their starting pay. We are closing 65 London police stations and dumping staff “in post offices and cafés”. We accuse the police of corruption, racism and undercover sex. Yesterday, the police minister, Damian Green, even suggested they may soon be held in lower esteem “than politicians, journalists and bankers”. You can’t get lower than that.


The Metropolitan Police has long been dubbed “the last unreformed public service in the land”, surely a calumny on lawyers. But the sheer deluge of bad publicity — Stephen Lawrence, G20 and Ian Tomlinson, phone hacking, pleb-gate — must sap the morale of a group whose work depends on public trust.
The Government seems content to treat the police much as Margaret Thatcher treated the miners. If the Police Federation votes this month for strike action, I doubt if ministers will care. Outside London, lay police commissioners have been imposed against fierce protest. The police regulator Tom Winsor’s proposal to open up grades, slash overtime and reduce starting pay were accepted by the Government on the nod. The press, once cheerleaders for the constabulary, are now its scourge.
Police misbehaviour and indiscipline, in the sum of things, are mostly small beer. Anyone reading the memoirs of Sir Robert Mark from the 1960s would be appalled, with police mobs roaming free, consorting with pornographers, drug dealers and bank robbers. CID officers were laws unto themselves. There were almost no ethnic minority officers, while demonstrations, especially involving blacks, were an excuse for a pitched battle.
Those days are mostly over. My problem with the police is shared with others who come into contact with them, not the few reported bad apples, but the irrelevance of the modern police agenda. The police seems a force apart, bound up in its own targets, loyalties and procedures. The bureaucracy — taking reputedly 60 per cent of officers’ working time — seems not a security but a barrier erected against the public.
The sight of most London police on patrol, two officers chatting together and oblivious of their environs, symbolises introversion. The trouble with the Met is not a lack of ability or commitment from its staff. They do a difficult and isolated job, in the community yet apart from it. The trouble is senior management’s fear of the front line, in particular the “sergeants union” which dictates the work, hours and thus pay of line constables. Many just work to a target and go home.
This is why good officers are so desperate to get “off the borough” and into the 107 specialist units that have flourished in the Met over the past decade. It is why an average of 30 officers are needed to bring a case from crime to court. It is why London policing has gone from the preventive reassurance of a street presence to the “response policing” of screaming police cars, whose ubiquity shocks many visitors to London.
The tales that sap public confidence are not of modest backhanders but of overtime scams and disproportionate response. Lines of paddy wagons now attend even the tiniest march or embassy demo. Central Westminster often looks like the scene of a police rally. Overtime two years ago cost Londoners £130 million, with some elite VIP protection officers taking home £100,000. The Audit Commission last year claimed £1 billion and 7,000 jobs could be cut from police budgets, with no reduction in frontline work.
What many Londoners resent is a city whose only figures of street authority are traffic wardens enforcing lucrative parking regulations on behalf of councils, which then spend the revenue not on security but on roadworks. Houses may be burgled and youths stabbed, but tens of thousands of wardens are hired merely to fine exorbitantly anyone whose wheel strays three inches over a parking bay.
Last week there was yet another stabbing in central London, in Pimlico, following others in Oxford Street and Victoria. The inability of the Met to counter London’s burgeoning gangs cannot be unrelated to its paltry presence on inner London’s most vulnerable streets and estates. I drove this week along Pimlico’s near empty Lupus Street, while dozens of police could be found a mile away strolling up and down Whitehall and clustered round Westminster and Buckingham Palace.
I will know something has changed when police go back to living in these communities. At present half the Met lives actually outside London, encouraged by the astonishing perk of free travel to work. I will know something has changed when I see police patrolling singly, thus covering twice the area. I will know when they put aside the weapons they love to tote around VIP locations. I will know when every driver I see stopped by the police is not black, and when the London police drop targets for strip-searching young men for cannabis, calculated to offend minority communities.
But there are limits to police responsibility. I recall visiting Hammersmith police station some time ago with an inspector who took me through his logs. A third of the incidents were unrelated to crime. They were cases of mental illness, personal distress, low-level misbehaviour and drunkenness. The police are called out when other professions vanish off duty. They stand in for what, in other developed countries, are considered the tasks of a mayor, teacher, doctor, social worker or extended family leader.
The street remains London’s standard unit of community. We expect the police to be its sole monitor, frontline agents of public reassurance and security. They hate that role and have struggled for decades to avoid it, vanishing into cars, helicopters and office blocks. But rightly or wrongly, that is the role they are expected to perform. If they do not want to be seen as Mr Green’s journalists or bankers, they should walk the streets and show their faces.
 
 
I saw loads of Officers about last week. All on motorcycles grabbing idiots who prefer not to pay insurance, or spend time on phone.
 
 
Brilliant stuff!!

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#2 gripper

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:02 PM

Who writes this Drivel.

#3 intheblitz

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:49 PM

Whilst I don't agree with certain parts, other segments are absolutely spot on. As unpalatable as they may be to the Police "walking the streets and showing your faces" sums it up perfectly for me. There may be 101 reasons why Police don't do this, but to be honest, that is not mine, or the public's problem. The Police have become so detached from the public they look after that is it any wonder, when the chance to stir the rubbish arises, it is grabbed in both hands by those with an axe to grind. 

 

Quite simply, if you don't interact with the public (other than issuing an FPN) how in the hell do you expect to defend your corner.

 

And as an aside, the number of Police who try to defend the undefendable (Dead children's id's spring to mind) on various platforms, and CONSTANTLY moan about their lot, when 10,000's are being made redundant on a weekly basis, (2500 Republic, 3700 Barclays and 800 Blockbuster and that's just TODAY!) really does nothing to bring the public on side.

 

Awaits incoming.



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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:45 AM

It's very professional of an MP to come out and state this (if he has) when MP's are not held in very high esteem nowadays due to the expenses scandal and the way the country is being run. I think the so-called 'red tape' has a massive part to play in police officers being visibly seen out on the streets because once you bring someone in its you that has to sit down and go through all the paperwork and submit the relevant documentation, email this person and that person and finally (if you are lucky) hand it over with a fall resume of what happened. I'm sure every police officer would like to have the freedom to be out on the beat more often but it's just not possible and with the cuts now taking full effect unfortunately visibility may get even worse.

#5 SimonT

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:24 AM

I dont understand why people are endlessly banging on about us losing touch with people. I happen to be people. We are in touch with them, we do understand them, but we cant do what they want, in the way they want us to do it and its going to get worse and worse.


We simply cant spare resources to have police officers walking about meeting people and saying hello while the world burns around them.

PCSO's were brought in to do this sort of thing, but the public want officers. Well tough, there arnt any.

 

If you want more speak to your elected PCC who you probbaly cant get hold of and who doesnt care in the slightest. Then try your mp, then try anyone else. You may find that MP's and PCC's and most people in power are staggeringly out of touch with everyone and everything.

 

The thing is intheblitz, we do moan a lot, but its about not being able to do our job and having harser cuts than a large number of other people. Yes people are losing their jobs, but if lots of people at barclays lose their jobs thats unfortunate, but people can always change banks, get new jobs.

 

You cant change 999 provider, you are stuck with what we can do and we harp on about not being able to do it even more than the fact that our pensions are going up while going down, our wages are going down and are frozen. I dont think its unreasonable to moan about this and i dont think that talking about something we did 20 years ago should stop that.

 

How do you suggest we interact with people more? We have flashy websites, hundreds of twitter streams, leaflet drops, pcso's who walk beats, stalls at major events, town hall meetings all over the place. What other government body interacts with the public more??

 

("when the London police drop targets for strip-searching young men for cannabis, calculated to offend minority communities" what the hell?)



#6 gripper

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:06 AM

I think it has been this governments aim, all along, to end the 'Policing with the consent of the people' philosophy.
And change to a more detached, way of Policing.
They have attacked our pay and conditions. And with the aid of the DM, undermined our position in society.
Probably to distract attention from themselves.
I only have a few years left, so, I'm just going to treat it as a normal job, from now on.
Nice big fat pension(s)are coming my way

#7 Anna32

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:07 AM

It's easier to walk the streets when you have more than one officer covering hundreds of miles and thousands of people...



#8 intheblitz

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 12:00 PM

It's easier to walk the streets when you have more than one officer covering hundreds of miles and thousands of people...

 

I can only speak for Essex, but there are currently around 3000 police officers covering 1405 sq miles (most of it green fields) and 1.4 million population (approx 500 per Officer).

 

From this I can only deduce there are lots of officers doing other roles as I seriously can't remember when I saw a warranted Officer walking.



#9 Anna32

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 12:22 PM

Hmm, no idea how Essex works, but whenever anyone looks at raw numbers in policing you need to remember that only a fraction of that will be active at any time due to rest days and shifts. This drops the 'active' number to, what, 1000 or less at a time? That is really not that many. Take off CID/ specialists/ 9-5 departments, and it drops quite seriously. (Also, just as an aside I think a lot of people don't know that many forces have split Response policing and Neighbourhood/ similar team policing. The officers turning out to a robbery in progress will often not be the people walking down your street and holding community meetings.) If you're in a town with a concentrated population it can be doable, but rural forces can really struggle with finding a compromise between visibility and efficiency. (Rural policing sounds very difficult, from a backup and resources point of view.) And, of course, 'walking and reassuring people' is exactly the sort of thing that PCSOs get assigned, so you are even less likely to see warranted officers doing this kind of work. (Note: We are not having the Great PCSO Debate again in this thread, please! It's already been done a lot elsewhere on here.)


Edited by Anna32, 14 February 2013 - 12:22 PM.


#10 Sectioned Detection

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:23 PM

I work for GMP it covers 500 square miles and a population of around 2.5 million with police numbers at about 7000 (was over 8000 about 10 years ago and is expected to be 6000 in 3 years). In order to cover 24/7 you need 5 shifts so that's 1400 per shift.

We regularly have about 20% off on leave, 10% on training and conservative 10% sick or on restricted duties, 10% senior officers, Which leaves 700 per shift or 3500 people for each officer. There's 12 divisions which takes that to about 58 people parading on at a station per shift.

Of course that doesn't take into account:
CID
Firearms
Counter terrorism
Internal Affairs
Training
Traffic
Pro-active ie surveillance
Tactical Aid
Financial Investigations
Dog unit
Mounted unit
Air unit
Child protection
Offender management

So as you can see it start to whittle away at front line staff. But let's run with the above number of say 60 per shift.

Abstracted from that you will have officers at:
Scene management
Constant observations in custody
Minding MH patients
Looking for missing patients
Looking for missing kids from children's homes
Minding kids place into police protection
Policing public events
Policing protests
At court

None of this includes dealing with crime:
Statements
Seizing evidence
Creating evidence ie photos,
Transporting prisoners
Booking in prisoners
Interviewing prisoner
Briefing solicitors
Bailing offenders
Completing files

Did I mention if you ring 999 you will want me there as fast as possible which I can't do on foot?

#11 Sectioned Detection

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:28 PM

So, which of the above would you like leaving so I can walk around on foot and smile at the public?

#12 SimonT

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:41 PM

I vote for not dealing with missing people. I would happily walk about instead of them. 

 

I do often consider walking about, just having a stroll, but i would get my behind ripped off if i was called to an emergency and had a 5 minute jog just to get back to my car. 



#13 Sectioned Detection

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 02:01 PM

At the risk of going off topic...the public need to decide what they want from the police service. Only then can we try to give them what they want. T May says we should ONLY be dealing with crime yet if we did that people would die and police would be heald responsible.

#14 Frank Drebin

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 02:18 PM

So, we're wanted out on foot and in easy contact of the public. And we're also wanted to achieve more with less in respect of the financial situation. Foot patrol, as 'nice' as it is, is an inefficient method of patrolling and providing uniformed coverage to an area. Minds need making up, you simply cannot have both.



#15 morek54

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 08:09 PM

Whilst I don't agree with certain parts, other segments are absolutely spot on. As unpalatable as they may be to the Police "walking the streets and showing your faces" sums it up perfectly for me. There may be 101 reasons why Police don't do this, but to be honest, that is not mine, or the public's problem. The Police have become so detached from the public they look after that is it any wonder, when the chance to stir the rubbish arises, it is grabbed in both hands by those with an axe to grind. 

 

Quite simply, if you don't interact with the public (other than issuing an FPN) how in the hell do you expect to defend your corner.

 

And as an aside, the number of Police who try to defend the undefendable (Dead children's id's spring to mind) on various platforms, and CONSTANTLY moan about their lot, when 10,000's are being made redundant on a weekly basis, (2500 Republic, 3700 Barclays and 800 Blockbuster and that's just TODAY!) really does nothing to bring the public on side.

 

Awaits incoming.

You are clearly entitled to your opinion.  The problem is, everybody has an opinion on what the Police should be.  Just as everybody is an expert on football on the terraces on a Saturday afternoon - they all know better than the manager how the team should be played.  Only, they're not really experts.  But that's life. 

 

Whilst I am a Police Officer, I am also a member of the public.  I too live in a community, have a family and probably have the exact same concerns as everybody else.  I just don't get this apparent obsession some seemingly have with so-called "Police-public interaction".  Or how we have supposedly become detached from the public.  I have to be honest, I don't spend my time longing for the local Police to connect with me.  I don't stare out of the window wishing I could see a Police Officer walking up and down the street outside my house, stopping to hug the locals in order to connect with them.  Or bemoaning the fact I feel detached from the Police because that's not happening.  What I do want, as just as much any member of the public, is for the Police to turn up when I call and need them.

 

We need to remember the Police are first and foremost responsible for law enforcement.  We are also an emergency service.  We are not, primarily, a community engagement group.  Although some community engagement is clearly important, what is most important?  Why do the Police exist?  And there lies the difficulty. 

 

I guess this is a Police orientated website, therefore it shouldn't come as a surprise that Police Officers will discuss issues as they affect them - or moan about their lot as you put it.  Or give their views in response to matters being debated here.  There will always be others, who are worse off.  That you consider something "indefensible" though is purely a matter of opinion.  Or are you suggesting that Officers are not entitled to an opinion, particularly if you personally feel the matter under debate is "indefensible"?  Me or others on here sharing our views does not some how further distance us from the public.  I simply don't accept that.  And frankly, wouldn't this forum be a pretty dull place if it entailed those non-Police member giving us their own, occasionally misguided, views on the Police and we weren't able to respond for fear of widening that perceive gap that seemingly exists between the Police and the public. Or rather we simply agreed for that sake.

 

The fact is, I'm been in this job nearly twenty years and am, let's say, middle aged.  I cannot ever remember a time, either whilst serving or whilst growing up, when I saw bobbies regularly walking the streets.  Not where I lived - and I grew up on a pretty rough Council estate.  I think some people have rose tinted glasses - perhaps looking back to an era, when our towns and cities were much smaller, much less populated, the demands were much lower, society and it's problems were much less complex and criminals robbed on their own doorsteps rather than travelling between towns in their uninsured vehicles.  

 

I could perhaps debate all day the issues, which unduly impact on Police visibility.  But as you say, it's not your problem - only it is really.  The very same public who will happily wait in A and E four or five hours to be seen by a doctor will quickly slate the Police when it takes us too long to get to them.  Only we're all busy.  But that's the mindset we're up against.

 

Sometimes we moan because we actually care.



#16 gripper

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:27 PM

I know, they want the jolly old beat officer, walking his beat, chatting to Mrs Miggins about dog mess, and litter.
Dear oh dear.

#17 intheblitz

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 11:14 PM

I want a VISIBLE deterent. I want a Copper who knows Mrs Miggins and also know that Mrs Miggins is the nosey pensioner who spotted the travellers white Transit checking out the Church roof for lead and has the name of the teenagers she saw breaking the park bench yesterday. I want a Copper who knows the local area and the the local people. I want proper neighbourhood Policing. I know my local PCSO well, and she's an Angel (although not very angelic and I believe would make a great warranted Officer). But when my "local" Sgt is so detached from my area he hardly knows the area, Policing has broken down and lost it's connection with the public and that is purely down to Police priorities. Despite the cuts the budget is still massive, the Police choose to spend it elsewhere.

#18 intheblitz

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 11:21 PM

I know, they want the jolly old beat officer, walking his beat, chatting to Mrs Miggins about dog mess, and litter.
Dear oh dear.


If you seriously think people's priorities are dog mess and litter, that explains alot about current Policing. People's concerns are is their daughter safe when she goes out at night. Is my house safe when I go to work. Is my family safe when I'm away or asleep at night. At the moment I'd answer "I'm not sure" as policing priorites don't appear to be based on these simple priorities.

#19 morek54

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 07:28 AM

If you seriously think people's priorities are dog mess and litter, that explains alot about current Policing. People's concerns are is their daughter safe when she goes out at night. Is my house safe when I go to work. Is my family safe when I'm away or asleep at night. At the moment I'd answer "I'm not sure" as policing priorites don't appear to be based on these simple priorities.

So you want one-to-one protection for your daughter?  But you also want a visible deterrent outside your house when you are away or asleep so that you know your family are safe?  That's fair enough.  Which sort of highlights the dilemma.  We can't be everywhere.  I'm afraid you seem to long for the halcyon days of Policing that never really existed in the first place.  The reality is, though, your daughter and family are safe.  When was the last time they came to any harm, they were threatened or their safety seriously endangered? 

 

I tend to find it difficult debating such issues with people such as yourself because if I try and explain the realities of the situation, you will merely dismiss it as further evidence of how detached we have become. 

 

But the sort of policing you seemingly dream of was never there.  Not in my life time.  Nor yours, I imagine.  Therefore, the break-down in Policing of which you speak might be how you perceive the situation - but reality and perception are two completely different things. In any case, it seems that you live in a relatively nice place.  Somewhere in Essex judging by your previous posts.  Though I might add, from the little research I have just done, it apparently has the fifth highest populous in the UK, so it can't all be just green fields as you allude to in a previous post. 

 

In contrast, I work in a large urban area.  It has serious crime problems, a night-time economy which presents significant Policing issues in terms of resources and high levels of poverty which in itself impacts greatly upon the Police in terms of the dual role we seem to have adopted in picking up the pieces left by the failures of other agencies.  But trust me, I'm sure you'd rather live where you live than here.  You might see more Police here.  So if that's what you want, then there's plenty of empty properties - albeit in need of some work - for you if you decide to move to an area where there is a greater Police presence.  The downside: I can understand people actually not always feeling safe here. Guess you can't have it all ways. 

 

I say that because sometimes it's important to put things in perspective.  Perhaps based on my own experiences, I tend to feel safe where I live by virtue of the fact I never see the Police.  I'm content with that.  More than content, in fact. 

 

There are actually more Officers in Neighbourhood Policing than ever before though, doing a job which was once performed by a lone community Bobby, who was never there 24/7 - and in my experience tended to work 8-4 day shifts.  He/she was never there to keep you safe whilst sleeping at night - that was the responsibility of the shift coppers, who are there 24/7.  That is no different today.

 

Alas, if you feel the Police are detached and that Policing has broken down, you are more than welcome to accompany me on shift one day to witness exactly what we are up against.  The reality of it all.  Not how you perceive things from the outside or read in the media.  But the stark realities of it all.  The sheer demand placed upon us.  You might then better appreciate the difficult and challenging work we do on behalf of the public despite the significant obstacles which constantly hinder the work we do.  There are undoubtedly significant problems in British Policing - but that is not solely the fault of the Police, rather political interference and considerable external influences which unduly hinders us.  But that has to be seen and experienced to be appreciated - because as ever, as far as the media are concerned, it's all our fault. 

 

Under the circumstances, I think we do a fantastic job.  That people can't appreciate that is a matter for them, I'm afraid.



#20 gripper

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:39 AM

I know, they want the jolly old beat officer, walking his beat, chatting to Mrs Miggins about dog mess, and litter.
Dear oh dear.

If you seriously think people's priorities are dog mess and litter, that explains alot about current Policing. People's concerns are is their daughter safe when she goes out at night. Is my house safe when I go to work. Is my family safe when I'm away or asleep at night. At the moment I'd answer "I'm not sure" as policing priorites don't appear to be based on these simple priorities.

The reason I posted that, was to highlight the real priorities, that people on my ward wanted, not so long ago.
They weren't interested in other crimes, that didn't effect them.
As already mentioned, if you aren't a victim, and don't see a copper, your lucky.
They are elsewhere dealing with crime.




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